There are only a handful of stories and people that fascinate me in the Beatle world. I am absolutley fascinated with John Lennon. I want to know what it was like in the Dakota from 1975-1980. I stay awake at night thinking about what it must have been like to be a fly on the wall, watching a musical giant be a househusband. I am even more enchanted by the early Beatles though.
I try to picture what it must have been like to play those small house parties and dank basement clubs, and picture what it must have been like for a couple of art school kids, enamored with the leather and cool of Marlon Brando, and their love of the arts and rock and roll. That figure is embodied by Stuart Sutcliffe. He was the Pre-Fab Four’s tortured artist friend who’s life was cut dramatically short. I would love to learn more about his story. It truly is a heartbreaking one. He was a beautiful and truly talented man who left us too soon.
His artwork will be on display through 2009 at the University of Liverpool. If anyone is able to attend and see this exhibition, please drop us a line. We’d love to hear about the experience.
Here’s what we’ve read.
Backbeat, the 1994 film charting the rise of The Beatles as a resident club band in Hamburg, pivots on one moment in particular: when Stuart Sutcliffe, played by Stephen Dorff, suffers his ultimately fatal brain haemorrhage while painting in an attic room.
The setting of that scene speaks volumes. Though the fifth Beatle’s creative role in the band was patchy and often soured by personality clashes with John Lennon, Sutcliffe’s star was rising fast in the art world. And for the trivia buffs out there, the only reason he and the young Lennon met was because they had both attended Liverpool School Of Art.
By the time Sutcliffe died in 1962, aged just 21, he’d abandoned The Beatles as a career, and was a hugely promising student at Hamburg College Of Art.
The body of painted works he left behind is broadly reflective of the US trend for abstract expressionism, but reveals equally strong influences from the European contemporary abstract movements of the time.
As Liverpool’s first major Sutcliffe retrospective in more than 40 years shows, the artist tended towards visceral emotion on his canvases as much as he did in his life. Tending to eschew overt lyricism for more primal and dramatic gestures, Sutcliffe’s paintings reveal a fire in the belly that explains much about his time with The Beatles.
Aug 21 until Jan 31, 2009, Victoria Gallery & Museum, Ashton Street, University Of Liverpool, Liverpool, Tue to Sat 10am to 5pm, free. Tel: 0151 794 2348. http://www.liv.ac.uk/vgm
Source: Metro UK